Let’s be clear. It doesn’t matter if you are a single entrepreneur, small business, or a giant corporation, everyone benefits from having a user friendly, fast, and high performing website. It takes the average person about .05 milliseconds to decide if they will stay on or leave your site. That’s all. The benefits of a quality website go far beyond increasing your revenue. It impacts your overall brand recognition and has the ability to add legitimacy to your company. Although designing your own website can be an exciting experience, there is a lot more going on behind the scenes that can quickly make the process both overwhelming and challenging to complete successfully, which is why most people will hire a designer/developer. But how much should you budget for a website? That all depends on what you are looking for. We break down some of the costs associated with building a website and how to hire a designer or developer.
Before getting started, a few things you will need or need to take into consideration are registration of a domain name, your website hosting company, SSL certificates, and if you will be providing e-commerce services or online booking. If you are doing this yourself, take a look at web builder sites such as Wix, Squarespace, or WordPress. Both Wix and Squarespace include features such as website hosting and security, but WordPress requires you to find a security platform separately.
Fast Fact: Although people use web designer and web developer interchangeably, a designer is generally responsible for a website’s look, user experience, content, and graphic design. A developer takes what the designer envisions and creates the coding that makes your website function securely and ensures it works in all the various browsers, mobiles, and tablets.
Now, let’s get into it.
It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want your website to achieve and what features you need before getting a quote from a web designer/developer. It is helpful to think of your website as an ongoing investment versus an expense. A great website can double as a marketing tool and boost your sales and revenue. It is usually the first thing your client comes in contact with in order to make a purchase or to find out more information.
- Determine your website’s purpose and goals: Knowing what you want to achieve with your website will help you identify the features and functionalities you need.
- Research web developers: Look for a web developer with experience creating websites with features similar to what you are looking for. Check out their reviews on Google. Ask for referrals and portfolio samples to ensure that you’re selecting the right developer for your project. (QC has a 5 star rating on Google – Click here to read our Client reviews.)
- Consider ongoing costs: In addition to the initial build, your website will require ongoing maintenance, security updates, and backups. Most people overlook this very important piece of the puzzle, which causes unnecessary headaches and expenses down the road in the form of website outages, decreased functionality, errors, website loss, security breaches, and more.
- Don’t sacrifice quality for cost: This is something we see happen quite often. It is tempting to go with the least expensive option, however, poorly designed websites always end up costing more in the long run. Invest in a quality, professionally built website that will not need major adjustments in the next year to 5 years.
- Be transparent about your budget: Your budget is your budget. Letting your web developer know upfront helps them prioritize the features and functions most important to your site’s customer experience. Many times we can build the foundation with the budget you have right now, and then add more bells and whistles as your company grows.
Freelancer vs Professional Company
As you can expect, costs will differ greatly here. A freelancer takes your general idea and comes up with a design that can look professional and sometimes functions as it should, however this is hit and miss. Freelancers typically do not have the same experience, knowledge, data, payment systems, contracts, or seamless processes as a professional company. Freelancers are a 1-person team so your project can easily get put on the back burner or take longer to get accomplished. We have seen freelancer websites bogged down with excessive plugins and full of security issues, simply due to lack of knowledge. If you are using a freelancer, be sure to vet them sufficiently.
A professional company or agency should come with a high functioning and focused team. We not only assess your design and functionality, but conversion rate, speed and optimization, branding, content, and all those little pieces that make a website truly great. There is a plan and a strategy behind the design, which is based on your target audience and calls to action. We will also use historical data (if available) to interpret what your customers are looking for and recommend changes that support their findings. Last, a professional company, like QC, will provide you with maintenance and management packages for after the launch of your website to ensure it stays up-to-date, optimized, and secure.
In conclusion, when it comes to your website, be ready to invest to work with a professional company to receive the best possible result. As mentioned earlier, let your developer or designer know your budget and what you need out of your website and be open to suggestions. A website is an investment into you and your business, and if done right, will provide an ROI that far exceeds the initial cost.